Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

In Which Alucard Discusses Personas... (Exalted 3e)

Collapse
X
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • In Which Alucard Discusses Personas... (Exalted 3e)

    Because someone in Ask a Question, Get an Answer asked for a guide to the persona Charms in Socialize, I thought I'd take a moment to expand on my experience with the Charms.

    First Impressions

    I'll be honest - my very first read of the book, I was a bit confused when I got to Socialize. I asked myself, "Why would I take these? If I want to be someone else, that's what Larceny is for, isn't it?" Of course, this was before I had fully internalized the new social system, before I'd realized how key the presence or absence of Intimacies were. I came to realize that having access to an entirely different set of Intimacies wouldn't just make it harder to read my true intentions - while assuming a persona, my real Intimacies are effectively invulnerable.

    ​Still, it takes a very weird sort of person to want to do that, right?

    ​The progression of Charms seemed to follow a sort of logic, at least - some folks claimed it came out of nowhere, but to me it seemed pretty straightforward: you start out with having a good poker face, advance to being able to indefinitely keep your intentions hidden, move on to hiding a specific thing you care about, to making it seem like you care about it in an entirely different context, to having an entirely different set of Intimacies, et cetera.

    I put aside the Socialize rules and didn't think much on them as I ran my first Exalted 3e game, since it was a seafaring game and the PCs were largely interested in treasures and gods and monsters. I would occasionally call for a Read Intentions roll, but even the PCs who put dots in Socialize didn't purchase any of its Charms, so at the time it was largely just there for the PCs to find the leverage for their massive Presence pools.

    Inspirational Material

    ​As the game went on, I got the itch to play Ex3 without having to sit in the ST chair. As my seafaring game's players dropped off one by one to RL concerns, I began to wonder about PCs I could make for the time when I would eventually take a turn at playing.

    That's when I started reading Doom and Gloam, a campaign log of an Exalted 3e game in which Jenna Moran played Dessa Svetlana or Tepet Evdeniya, depending on whether she had her Socialize Charms active or not. Svetlana was a Socialize Supernal Night who had stepped into the identity of a missing Realm magistrate.

    ​I'd also started rereading the Caste Books from Exalted 1e. By the time I read Caste Book: Eclipse, I was starting to see the appeal of a Socialize Solar.

    Na na na na na na na na na na na na na, Batman!

    Some friends eventually announced games, and I made characters for them, but most of those have either fallen apart or been put on hold. Still, looking for a spot for Sundays, I found a Discord group that had an opening. Feeling a bit of whimsy, I decided to try a concept that was a little out-there (hey, one of the other PCs was named "Invisible Horse Princess"). I recalled a post of mine, from years ago, in which I'd asserted that any Caste of Solar could be played as Batman (given how many hats he wears, the numerous writers who've each had their own takes on him, and so on), and decided to put my money where my mouth was.

    ​I decided on an Eclipse Caste, asking myself, "What if Batman had to invent Bruce Wayne?", and thus Knight Raiton was born.

    (Admittedly he's also got a bit of Moon Knight to him.)

    Knight Raiton is a masked vigilante detective who stalks the streets of Nexus by night. By day he lives as Carter Brus, an affluent Guild factor residing in a mansion in the Bastion district with his manservant, Avery. Knight Raiton Exalted as an Eclipse Caste after capturing a murderer and bringing him to the family of his victim, and convincing them not to kill him.

    At character creation, I only went as deep as Heart-Eclipsing Shroud (because let's face it, if you're gonna be Batman, you're gonna want to be able to throw a punch, solve a mystery, scare bad guys, throw a funny-shaped boomerang, and sneak around), but since then I've expanded his Socialize milieu pretty drastically.

    ​Knight Raiton's Intimacies included a Defining pledge to never set aside his crusade, a Major contempt for murderers, a Major fondness for his friend and manservant, a Major mourning over his parents, and a Major promise to not become like the monsters he fights. On the other hand, his Intimacies as Carter included a Defining desire to live lavishly, a Major desire to protect his family's legacy, a Major fondness for his friend and manservant, and a Minor pleasure found in helping the needy.

    Overall, he’s been a fun character to play, and the other players seem to enjoy how he holds animosity for the assassin PC, Invisible Horse Princess, in one moment, yet at other times seems to show respect for the heights to which she’s bootstrapped herself.
    Last edited by TheCountAlucard; 10-21-2019, 07:25 AM.

  • #2
    Originally posted by Amdramnar View Post
    I am interested in a basic understanding of the charms, their interactions, and a good starting character designs.
    So, let's talk about the Charms.

    The Persona Tree
    Heart-Eclipsing Shr- Hey, hey, wait, hold it. The tree doesn't start with Heart-Eclipsing Shroud. It starts with Shadow Over Day.

    ​Let's try that again.

    Shadow Over Day

    That's better. The road to personas starts with the ability to conceal your true intentions, and that starts with having a good Guile. Shadow Over Day gets the same effect as the Socialize Excellency, at half the cost. It's not a bad Charm, especially if you took Socialize as your Supernal or have Essence 2 for the ability to double up on it.

    Guarded Thoughts Meditation

    ​Of course, even Shadow Over Day has trouble looking good next to the sheer magnificence of Guarded Thoughts Meditation's offer of an Indefinite +3 Guile for 4m. Sure, it's Simple to activate, but why would you not already have it active? Fact is, I've never uncommitted these motes as Knight Raiton. Between a good Manipulation+Socialize pool, this Charm, Shadow Over Day, and an applicable Specialty, you can get a Guile of 11 before you even factor in a stunt.

    Penumbra Self Meditation

    ​Another Simple Charm; if you suspect someone's going to have a problem with one of your Intimacies, you can spend an hour and pay 3m to make it effectively disappear. If Knight Raiton is going to masquerade as common criminal Wick Warrens to plant ideas in the head of Táng Láng, he's going to hide his hatred of murderers. After all, though his Guile is nearly invulnerable, Charms like Cunning Insight Technique allow for the possibility of discerning Intimacies without checking against Guile.

    Inverted Ego Mask

    ​A Reflexive Charm, Inverted Ego Mask lets you respond to someone piercing your Guile by changing the context of the Intimacy they perceive. Let's say Táng Láng's player rolls absolutely amazingly, taking Knight Raiton by surprise with fourteen successes on ten dice, and asks me if "Wick Warrens" has any Intimacies for his parents. I can activate Inverted Ego Mask, and they come away thinking that our disguised hero hates them.

    Heart-Eclipsing Shroud

    ​Finally! Now you can spend ten motes and a Willpower over a four-hour period to not only hide your Intimacies, but to generate a set of false ones over them that make you effectively a different person. Here, you can lie so well that you can become lost in it. Remember that the persona created by Heart-Eclipsing Shroud needs the same number of Principles as the real you (but you can have as many or as few Ties as you want). When Knight Raiton took Heart-Eclipsing Shroud, I picked the character concept of "wealthy playboy socialite."

    At this stage, the only difference between the character and his persona is his Intimacies. If you don't plan to go any further, you could even keep all the relevant details on one character sheet.

    Hundred-Faced Stranger

    This is the one that gives your persona its own XP track; have a second sheet ready if you want this Charm. If you’re interested in going this far, you’ll pick an entire suite of Favored Abilities for the new you, with your pool of starting dots based on your investment in certain skills, and fill it out with half your character’s XP.

    When I purchased this, I decided Carter Brus would be more reflective of a persuasive playboy with a head for business. He got dots in Integrity, Bureaucracy, and Presence (and Socialize of course).

    Just remember, certain skills like the Dawn Abilities, Craft, Lore, and Occult are capped by the ranking the real you possesses.

    (That said, Vance has said it’s plenty reasonable for a persona for a martial artist to practice a different martial art from its initiate.)

    Your persona doesn’t get his own Charms yet, but he can use any of yours that his Ability ratings qualify him for. Make sure you give your persona Socialize 5 so you can revert back when necessary!

    Don’t spend all that XP on Abilities right away, though - if you’re going this far, you might as well pick up…

    Legend Mask Methodology

    Now your persona can qualify for its own Solar Charm purchases! For Carter, I used this chance to expand his Socialize and Bureaucracy repertoire even further, allowing him to shmooze his way to the top of Nexus’ social circles (as well as get an audience with Shalrina, Daimyo of Faces).

    Draw the Curtain

    This Charm increases the rate at which one of your personas accrues XP. One part says three-quarters, but the later part says two-thirds; I’d recommend asking your ST to have it just be one or the other to avoid headache-inducing math.

    However, this Charm comes at the cost of a new Limit Trigger condition when you’re in the persona for which you’ve bought the Charm.

    Fugue-Empowered Other

    I haven’t got this Charm yet so I can’t speak for its efficacy, but the basics of it is that you can borrow one of your persona’s Abilities and the associated Charms for a single tick. However, use with care, as it brings with it the possibility of confusing your identities.

    Soul Reprisal

    I haven’t taken this one yet, nor do I think I will, but the long and short of it is, when you die, you can shed everything that was you, and continue to live as one of your personas. Better than just dying, I’ll admit, but I’m still not too keen on it.


    Complementary Charms
    These aren’t directly part of the same tree as Heart-Eclipsing Shroud, but you’ll find they can expand your options and enhance your experience.

    (Assume all Charms are in Socialize unless otherwise noted!)

    Easily-Discarded Presence Method

    If someone fails to penetrate your Guile, you can essentially force a would-be scrutinizer to disregard you entirely.

    Selfsame Master Procurer

    Essentially the opposite of Easily-Discarded Presence Method, if someone fails to penetrate your Guile, you become the object of their desires, the means by which they might accomplish their goal in this scene. (Be cautious about using this on someone if you haven’t read their intentions yet!)

    Soul Void Kata

    ​If someone fails to penetrate your Guile, you hypnotize them in such a way that they just stand there and can take no more actions for the rest of the scene. Hilarious, but I think I'll pass for now.

    Preeminent Gala Knife

    Get motes back from Socialize actions? Yes, please! This makes those activations of Shadow Over Day more than worth it!

    Undying Solar Resolve (Integrity)

    ​This Charm also refuels your mote pool, this time when someone tries to influence, curse, or mind-control you and rolls 1s or 2s.

    Seasoned Criminal Method (Larceny)

    ​This Charm grants you a suite of facades to adopt, which can be layered over your personas to make them even more varied. Knight Raiton can emanate Dissonance to make it harder to investigate his secret identity, while Carter Brus can appear to be a hapless mark when finding himself in a shadier part of Nexus. (The effective Intimacy from the Familiarity option is also invaluable!)

    Flawlessly Impenetrable Disguise (Larceny)

    ​If you really want to sell the idea that Knight Raiton is not Carter Brus and vice-versa, it helps to have them not both look like handsome, square-jawed, dark-haired athletic-types.

    Perfect Mirror (Larceny)

    ​If both you and your persona are known as Exalts, it helps to make it appear as though their animas are different as well.

    Master Thespian Style (Performance)

    The poor man's Heart-Eclipsing Shroud. ​A scene-length one-point Guile booster, which only costs one mote. If someone fails to penetrate your Guile while you're in-character, they assume you have Intimacies in keeping with the role you're playing.

    Last edited by TheCountAlucard; 10-21-2019, 07:29 AM.

    Comment


    • #3
      Thanks, by the way to MadLetter for your Charm cascade PDFs. The Socialize cascade in particular has been invaluable for organizing my thoughts!

      Comment


      • #4
        And reading on this tree and the personas is making me imagine the incredibly weird idea of all sample Nights in the castebook actually being Ravesh the Vanisher (or whoever you want to be the "core")....

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Baaldam View Post
          And reading on this tree and the personas is making me imagine the incredibly weird idea of all sample Nights in the castebook actually being Ravesh the Vanisher (or whoever you want to be the "core")....
          I’m pretty sure it’s “Havesh the Vanisher,” but nah, that wasn’t really his M.O. - again, this isn’t a disguise (though it doesn’t hurt to look different between identities), so much as method-acting hard enough that you are effectively someone else.

          Mirror Flag’s an Eclipse, not a Night, but she’s a much better fit for the sort of mindset that leads to a character taking Heart-Eclipsing Shroud.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by TheCountAlucard View Post
            I’m pretty sure it’s “Havesh the Vanisher,” but nah, that wasn’t really his M.O. - again, this isn’t a disguise (though it doesn’t hurt to look different between identities), so much as method-acting hard enough that you are effectively someone else.

            Mirror Flag’s an Eclipse, not a Night, but she’s a much better fit for the sort of mindset that leads to a character taking Heart-Eclipsing Shroud.

            I think you're correct in both instances.
            But then finding out all other eclipses are actually Mirror Flag would probably generate more of a "Should have known..." than "WHAT" moment (Maybe it is the Emissary too, hiding in plain sight).

            Comment


            • #7
              This inspired me to go looking back at Lunar Guile Charms, and I'm blown away by how I completely missed (or could ever have forgotten about) Silver Mask Submersion.


              Formerly Inugami, formerly Tornado Wolf.

              My RWBY Blog on Tumblr: Semblances, Kingdoms, Grimm, and more!

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Sunder the Gold View Post
                This inspired me to go looking back at Lunar Guile Charms, and I'm blown away by how I completely missed (or could ever have forgotten about) Silver Mask Submersion.
                I plan to cover those at a later time.

                Comment


                • #9
                  This is a good guide. I think Batman (or other superheroes) are probably some of the best examples for Persona charms. Though I think for most characters, you can probably stop at Heart-Eclipsing Shroud.


                  My characters:
                  Dr Soma Vaidya, viper-totem Lunar and kung-fu doctor
                  Brother Alazar, Zenith occultist and last survivor of the Black Monastery of Leng
                  Shadow of Kings, Twilight barbarian scholar, master of lost First Age crafting techniques. Has a lot of clones. Picture by Jen.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by The Wizard of Oz View Post
                    Though I think for most characters, you can probably stop at Heart-Eclipsing Shroud.
                    For most characters you can probably stop before Heart-Eclipsing Shroud. I’m going to continue to expand on this once I get home from work.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Your persona doesn’t get his own Charms yet, but he can use any of yours that his Ability ratings qualify him for. Make sure you give your persona Socialize 5 so you can revert back when necessary!
                      Well that's really fun I never thought this could be a legit case. Had me laugh.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Chausse View Post
                        Well that's really fun I never thought this could be a legit case.
                        That arguably happened with Batman of Zur-En-Arrh, in 2008.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          That's even funnier to see it actually happened in a Comics. Thanks for sharing this

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by TheCountAlucard View Post
                            That arguably happened with Batman of Zur-En-Arrh, in 2008.

                            Because everything is possible to Batman - including become another Batman so hard he forgets to revert back to Batman.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Chausse View Post

                              Well that's really fun I never thought this could be a legit case. Had me laugh.
                              Sometimes the challenge the Eclipse faces to survive is so great that it outweighs the risk of never remembering who they once were. Those Socialize dots are needed elsewhere.


                              Formerly Inugami, formerly Tornado Wolf.

                              My RWBY Blog on Tumblr: Semblances, Kingdoms, Grimm, and more!

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X